9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Every day, my personal list of places that I have to visit before I die grows bigger. There are obvious choices, like London, New York, Tokyo or basically any other major city that's known to be a must-see for any traveling enthusiast. Then you move on to places that can offer you more than a sightseeing experience, like the exotic shores of Bora Bora (if your wallet allows it) or an epic safari in the wilderness of Africa (if your heart rate allows it). And by the time you know it, you realize that you already have three pages worth of traveling destinations, and tell yourself: “enough.” But then, you stumble upon some article that describes in vivid detail the beauty of some unknown village on an abandoned island next to Iceland, and it comes with pictures too! Or, in my case, you find a gallery that showcases the beauty of Tuscany, perhaps a lesser hyped destination in Italy compared to famous places like Rome,  or Venice if you take away the fame of Florence. But let me tell you, Tuscany is just as worthy of being on that list just like any other destination and here are 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany to tell you why.

1. Birthplace Of Italian

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Italian's Origin

Anyone who possesses some basic knowledge on the ethno genesis of European languages knows that Italian was founded on the premises of Latin. After all, if not the descendants of Romans, then who? However, even though the language itself was shaped by Latin, the Italian we hear being spoken today is actually created around the dialect spoken in Tuscany. How many regions can claim they have the honor of having such a widely liked dialect, that the entire country agreed to adopt it?

2. Pinocchio Is From Tuscany

Pinocchio Is Tuscan - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Like most stories, Disney wasn't the first to tell the story of the famous marionette Pinocchio. The original tale was crafted by Italian author Carlo Collodi, who was born in the Florence of the year 1826 and lived his whole life in Tuscany, which was, back then, under Austrian control. The story was then picked up by Disney over a century later, and turned into the 1940 adaption we know all too well today.

3. First Region To Adopt Pavements

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Paved Roads

If there is one thing that's vastly known, is that Florence has always been an epitome of elegance of beauty. This is all thanks to the rich banks and the flowering merchandise business of the Renaissance era, which made Tuscany a region financially potent to bring out the best of itself. Curtsy to this, in 1339, it adopted the initiative to pave all the roads in Tuscany, something that revolutionized the world, as we can attest over seven centuries later.

4. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Interesting Facts About Tuscany Include The Existence Of Other Towers Like Pisa's

The legendary tower of Pisa has become a trademark for Italy in general. But do you know how it came to assess its infamous, skewed position? Ironically enough, the word “pisa” originates from Greek and it means “marsh land,” which seems to have been a grim prediction of the Italian architects' choice to build a 15,000 tonnes weighting tower on unstable marsh land. What's more, this isn't the only tower of sorts in Tuscany: the church of Saint Nicola and the bell tower of the church of Saint Michele dei Scalzi also share the iconic leaned position of the Pisa tower.

5. UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO Heritage Sites Compose Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Tuscany is undoubtedly a must see for anyone who would like to be taken on a cultural trip among the history filled walls and roads of the region. There are more UNESCO Heritage Sites in Tuscany than in places like South Africa, Argentina or Australia, with the biggest density being found in Florence, Siena and Pienza. But it's not just buildings other architectural masterpieces that bear the seal of the UNESCO Heritage Site; many of the landscapes in Tuscany are considered of great value too, since they've inspired many of the greatest Renaissance painters.

6. The Marble Arch Is Tuscan

The Marble Arch's Origins Make Up Some Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Perhaps you're familiar with the Marble Arch, the huge construction that was built on the corners of Park Lane and Oxford Street in London. Well, the material used for its construction is actually marble that was exported from Tuscany. Back then, Italy could afford sparing some of its Tuscan marble, since it was a commonly and widely used resource by many Renaissance artists. The best example is Michelangelo's famous David, which is today exhibited at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.

7. The Birth Of Opera And Musicals

Opera's Origins - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

The biggest accomplishment that can be awarded to Tuscany, is undoubtedly the colossal impact it had in the cultural world. Around the middle of the 16th century, and the Renaissance Era, a group of Tuscan poets, musicians and intellectuals known as Florentine Camerata joined forces to intertwine Green myths with music, and put them on stage. This movement eventually led to the apparition of the first operas, which in turn were the foundation for the development of classical forms as music, such as the symphony.

8. Tuscany Has A Ski Resort

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Ski Resort

This might come off as quite surprising, especially given the fact that Italy often loses to neighbors such as Switzerland and Austria when it comes to mountainside tourism. However, Tuscany has more to offer than rolling hills and green, lush flora. Mount Amiata is a popular destination for those who are looking for an escapism in the heart of the mountains, whether it's for skying or for plain relaxation purposes.

9. Legendary Artwork

Tuscany's Culturally Famous Artworks Are Some Better Known Interesting Facts About Tuscany

For our final bullet point, we have to give credit where credit's due, even though said credit has been given numerous of times. Tuscany is the host of some of the post valuable artworks in the world, and it can pride itself for being the birth place of some of the biggest names in the Renaissance. For example, Botticelli's famous “The Birth of Venus” painting is displayed at the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David is exhibited for the world to see in Florence. What's even cooler is than many Tuscan cities and towns are works of art by themselves, being the hosts of many amazing churches, cathedrals and buildings rich in history and culture.

Long story short, Tuscany is amazing. And Florence shouldn't be the only reason why you'd want to visit it. Although definitely its strongest point, the region in itself is full of gorgeous landscapes and perhaps lesser known towns and cities that are worth a sightseeing escapade, thanks to these 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

So, we can add the Best Latte Art you ever saw to the list of things I never knew existed. All this time, I have only been using the foam to form hilarious mustaches on my upper lip when I could have been creating these masterpieces:

The Elephant Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is one of my favorite Latte Art. It is quite simply a stunning image of an elephant. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to drink such an intricate and beautiful piece of art. Well, that is, unless I was really thirsty.

The Melting Clock Art

Best Latte Art

This next cup of Latte exemplifies the style known as 3D Latte Art. We have Dali’s famous melting clock in a cup. And, it's literally melting. Actually, I wonder how long this sort of work of art would last before really melting. In the place I go for my drinks, the staff is so slow that the foam or cream (or whatever is on top of my drink) usually melts before it arrives. Thinking about it now, they probably just skim off it the top foam and slurp it down all because they hate me.

The Wolf Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

Am I the only person to feel a little creeped out by this piece of coffee art? I would probably freak and run out of the place screaming if my waiter served me a cup with that face in it.

The Dali Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

If you’re going to put someone’s face in your Latte Art, it might as well be Dali…I guess.

The Hello Kitty Art

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

That creepy little cat pops up everywhere these days. It's even in our drinks. My daughter is a big fan of Hello Kitty but hates latte. On the other hand, I could live solely off lattes and biscotti. I could do without Hello Kitty.

The Sorry Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

The idea of saying sorry with a latte is pretty clever. If your actions were really bad, then you might want to buy your partner something a bit more impressive. Perhaps something like flowers or some cookies. Unless you’re not really that sorry after all. In which case, I would suggest waiting until your local coffee store has a 2 for 1 offer and ordering the smallest size they have.

The Planetary Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

I really like this one even though it's pretty simple. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s a latte to start with.

The Snoopy Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is snoopy, isn't it? It’s been a while since I’ve seen the old fellow. But, I'm sure that's him just floating on top of a latte.

The Mushroom Cloud Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is pretty good looking pattern, but what is it? I think it’s a mushroom cloud, like the explosion from a nuclear bomb.

The Snowman Latte Art

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

For a cheerful cup of latte during the winter, you can’t beat this chipper little snowman.

The Cat and Fish Latte

The Best Latte Art You Ever Saw

This is the final piece of Latte Art for today. It is probably my favourite. The 3D foam cat looks hungrily on at a couple of swimming fish. It’s cute, it’s artistic and it’s making me thirsty.

5 Great Nonfiction Books You Must Read

We’ve recommended you some powerful books that will change your perception on life and now it’s time for nonfiction. These following great nonfiction books will not only change your perception on life, but they will change your life. They will change the way you eat, the way you memorize information, the way you use the internet, the way you view time and space and the way you view yourself as a human being. Here are 5 great nonfiction books that you must read this summer!

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric SchlosserFast Food Nation The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser

Fascinated by fast-food? Whether you love it or hate it, we assure you that you will love this great nonfiction book. Eric Schlosser exposes the underbelly of the American fast-food industry and it’s not pretty. Did you know that fast-food restaurants work on the same principles that a factory assembly line do? Factory farms are presented, slaughterhouses reveal their secrets and you learn why French fries taste so good with the help of a visit to the largest flavor company. It’s not a comfortable book, one that you snuggle up to the fire with. It will shake you, but you will thank it for doing so at the end.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua FoerMoonwalking with Einstein The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein is a fascinating book written by young journalist, Joshua Foer. In one year he managed to do what others thought would be impossible: he won the United States Memory Championship. In the book he tells us how he did it and he teaches us how learn how to memorize. These days people seem to rely on their own memory less and less and it is changing the way our brain works. The art of memory is a set of techniques that were invented in ancient Greeks that helped people memorize entire books. These ancient mnemonic methods are brought into our attention and they’re simply fascinating.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas CarrThe Shallows What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

With this book Nicholas Carr challenges the most popular and helpful tool humanity has at this moment: the Internet. Is Google making us dumb? was the question that started it all. The gist of it is that the ease with which we receive information has permanently changed the way our brain perceives information in general. Discoveries in neuroscience have revealed that our neural pathways have been rerouted. The Internet has literally changed our brains! If you still don’t want to go out and buy it, know that the book was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Price in General Nonfiction.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingA Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

This great nonfiction book you must read was number one on New York Times’ bestseller list. It is a landmark piece of scientific literature written by one of the greatest contemporary minds, Stephen Hawking. The book explores the age-old questions of how did our universe begin, is there a limit to our universe? The awesome thing about this book is that it is written in plain English, so that we can all understand what that man is telling us. So, if black holes and quasars have always fascinated you, pick up a copy of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and devour it!

The Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsThe Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins will challenge the way we view natural selection. The man’s theories that he presents so clearly and so beautifully in his book, The Selfish Gene, have helped change the nature of the study of social biology. Many of his readers have claimed that this book has changed their beliefs on life. The book is about exploitation, competition and how we’re genetically engineered to be selfish. The current revised edition of the book has two new chapters, one of which is entitled Nice Guys Finish First and it tackles the subjects of selfishness and cooperation. He argues that evolution favors co-operative behavior, even in a selfish environment.

Have you read any of these great nonfiction books? Which one do you find most appealing? Drop us a line!

Music Inspired Artwork That is Both Beautiful and Unique

Music is in itself art and by having acquired that status it has also earned the right of influencing those it comes in contact with in beautiful and personal ways. It is said that: “Music is a piece of art that goes in the ears and straight to the heart” and who could argue with that? Few of us could spend more than 4 hours without listening to a bit of music and that is precisely the reason why. Our minds and souls need constant stimulation and music makes us remember of the beauty that lies within. We have decided to bring to you some of the most beautiful works of art that have been inspired by the concept of music and what is interesting is that they are as beautiful as the music itself. Enjoy!

Music is The Key of Love

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Music operates with keys (tonic notes) which basically declares how a song is supposed to be played and in which range. This is a Sol Key that has been beautifully crafted to incorporate the keys of a piano as well as a musical measure in another key (Fa key) – maybe the artist was trying to create a key that holds more keys. Whichever the case, it looks gorgeous.

“Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is THE BEST.” – Frank Zappa

Self-Expression to the Point of Obsession?

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So many artists have turned their talent and craft into an obsession- just think of Van Gogh, Dali and many others, and some say that music is no exception because the need of expression of emotion may be so intense that artists can only do so through their music. So for them it is not just the ultimate joy but also an existential need.

“Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” – Leonard Bernstein 

When Notes Become Flowers

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Sheet music and the entire musical language is a beautiful thing- it allows the vision of composers and talented writers to be showcased exactly as they envisioned it even after hundreds of years. It may be in fact true that music makes all things blossom into the most beautiful of flowers.

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” – Aaron Copland

The Music of Nature

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The beauty of music also resides in the fact that it isn't exclusive to mankind. In fact, it is the song of nature that inspired man in the first place so why not raise an ode to nature’s most exquisite singers? Birds!

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietzsche 

Art on Skin

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In truth, some of the most beautiful music inspired artwork pieces have been in the form of tattoos done by musicians of enthusiasts. Truthfully, “music is how feelings sound like” .

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” – Plato

Nature’s Violin

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Meant to show that music is indeed alive with the feelings of those listening to it, this is a piece that speaks to so many. Stunning.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” – Victor Hugo

Sing of Love

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When we can’t speak of love, music is what comes through so why not sing of love instead? Music is in fact one of the best attempts we have at winning someone’s heart over and with the perfectly chosen ballad we might just succeed in winning over the love of our lives.

Artistic or Gross? 3D Tattoos that Will Leave you Impressed

It's not the first time we're talking about tattoos around here and we have this guilty pleasure of finding body art-works which are either spectacular, completely horrible or at least controversial to comment upon and see what's your take on the matters. The history of tattoos goes a long way back into the dark ages of history and even if it seems it started somewhere in Asia, it is spread all over ancient and modern cultures and countries. Tattoos and painting your body with all sorts of drawings has a certain symbolic meaning to it and if you caught at least one or two Discovery shows on ink experts and tattoo parlors, you know people have a lot of reasons for eternally place on parts of their bodies (or all over their bodies) signs, symbols and complicated pictures depicting almost anything you can think of. Of course, a young gesture of rebellion can later in adulthood be considered inappropriate and people remove their tattoos, but on a large scale, they are there to stay and their bearers are proud in showing them off. Maybe they speak of some intimate attitude towards life, maybe they express concepts the owners consider to be important to them or maybe they are just a way to impress the others by displaying art on their skin. With the rise of 3D tattoos as a form of modern technique, things moved forward and today we will show you six of such 3D tattoos that will leave you impressed, either positively, either negatively. The San Francisco Times picked up a series of modern 3D tattoos and among them, we found a few that are not only surprising, but also mind – blowing enough to ask for your opinion if  they are artistic or gross.

1. The girl with the eye tattoo

3D tattoo

Just as the guys from San Francisco Times say, this is so perfectly executed and the details are so life-like, you don't know if you should bow to the artist or run away screaming. If you're a fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, you can't skip the powerful association between this 3D tattoo and Randal Flagg's mark, the blood red eye. Among all the 3D tattoos that will leave you impressed and are about to come next, this one is perhaps the most emotionally powerful.

2. The scorpion that is about to kill

3D tattoo

Again, the level of design is almost perfect. You can see the scorpion and almost feel that it's about to make a deadly move. Can you be attracted by such drawing and its bearer? Can you be fascinatingly horrified by it?

3. Artistic or gross? Attractive or repulsive?

3D tattoos

Well, in this case the symbolism cannot be overlooked but imagine the efforts and the pain this woman had to go through to obtain this artwork on her body. Believe it or not, that area is sensible to pain. How do men find this tattoo? What are the consequences – for wearing such body art?

4. The cat in the hat?

3D tattoos

Among all the 3D tattoos that will leave you impressed, our bet is that this particular one will leave you with a long lasting impression. It is incredibly strange and you probably need an army of psychologists and art critics to tell you about the intricate symbolism and message this woman wants to transmit through her body art. Or maybe this has nothing to do with any message and this lady only loved the idea and the drawing.

5. The leg that is more than a leg

3D tattoos

A round of applause to the artist in this case for making this woman's thigh and leg look like something that was pulled out from a sci – fi movie. The artwork is incredible and our first question would be how long did it take to reach this amazing final result.

6. What's hidden under there?

3D tattoos

This is “loosen up my buttons babe” taken to a whole different level and we have to admit that, in some sort of sick way, we like it a lot. What is hiding underneath these eerie clothes or the thin layer of flesh endowed with buttons? Would you try searching for this man's soul?

As you can imagine, there are plenty of 3D tattoos that will leave you impressed, enough maybe to convince you to get you one. Maybe they are art or some sort of ill imagination manifesting itself, but in reality, they do need a steady hand and a talented artist to look the way they look. Is the pain and effort worth it? Is this these peoples' the proverbial 15 minutes of fame?